A revitalization of St. Paul’s Midway area–a big goal of Minnesota United in terms of Allianz Field development–took a major step forward when the City Council approved up to $209 million in TIF financing for housing and infrastructure.
When the $250-million Allianz Field opened in 2019, it was designed with a 28,000-square-foot Great Lawn green space leading to University Avenue, with 30 acres of development planned in the area. The majority of the site housed a run-down shopping center and other modest retail sorely in need of TLC. Development was slowed by COVID-19, and George Floyd-related protesters also damaged buildings in the area, forcing the businesses within to close. While the stadium and the team have been a success, the impact on the area has been muted.
Until now. The original vision of United ownership is now moving forward, as the TIF financing plan would back–but certainly not totally pay for–620 units of housing (including 200 units of affordable housing), more than 4,500 structured parking stalls, 400 hotel rooms, more than 420,000 square feet of retail and a million or so square feet of office space. A developer has not been chosen, but the 6-1 vote from the city council moves the establishment of a 26-year TIF district forward. In this case, the increased tax revenues generated by the development would not go directly back to the city or the school district, but rather toward infrastructure improvements in the district, as well as to the developers. The vote does not tie the city to a specific dollar amount or development plan, but does allow planning and proposals to follow.
As we noted in our original story on Allianz Field, St. Paul’s Midway is in rough shape. Formerly a working-class area supporting workers at the likes of Brown & Bigelow and Horner Waldorf, the Midway is in sore need of TLC. There’s been some smaller businesses moving into the stadium area to serve soccer fans, but much more work is needed to boost the area. Location is a big plus to the plan: it’s called the Midway because it’s midway between downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul, and the area is well-served by light rail and freeway. The neighborhood south of the stadium has seen its share of new development.